TIPPECANOE COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — In July of 2011, Jeremy Gibson was brutally murdered and buried in a Tippecanoe County cornfield. Darren Englert was convicted of Gibson’s murder and sentenced to 80 years in prison. Englert gave WANE’s sister station WLFI an exclusive interview inside the prison he now calls home. There he told the story about what happened that night, and why he said it’s a story he wished were never written.
“It seems kind of like a movie, like different scenes. Some things I can remember, some things are like a blur…I’m not thinking I’m going to get away with this.” Those are some of the comments Englert told WLFI throughout his interview.
It’s what Tippecanoe County prosecutors call one of the most brutal murders they have ever seen.
It begins inside a home in the 1000 block of N. Eighth Street in Lafayette. It was the early morning of July 6, 2011, and 26-year-old Jeremy Gibson returned home from work. There he was greeted by his girlfriend, Carol Ann Clear, and his two roommates, Antonio Williams and Darren Englert.
According to court documents, it was inside the kitchen of that home where an argument ensued.
“Him [Williams] and Antonio got in an argument about Carol Ann,” Englert said. That’s when it all escalated.”
Clear later told jurors the fight lasted about five minutes with both Williams and Englert throwing punches at Gibson. According to Clear, it ended with blood smeared in the kitchen and Gibson tied by his hands and feet.
“I’m on drugs, you know, too,” Englert told WLFI. “So, I’m not thinking through everything.”
Englert claims he had no part in the physical beating of Gibson, but Clear later testified that he did take part. She also claimed that Englert helped Williams throw Gibson in a cold shower with his hands and feet bound together, then they left the house.
“We walked to get to the car. We just drove, I’m pretty sure it was to his godfather’s house,” Englert said.
Court documents show it was at that location, Williams’ godfather’s house, where they grabbed a pickax and a hatchet which were later used to beat Jeremy to death. After getting the tools, Englert said they drove out to County Road 500 North in Tippecanoe County where Williams began giving orders.
“He walked me, Jeremy and Carol Ann to the side of the road where he started digging a hole,” Englert stated. “And he stopped digging and told me to dig. That’s when I did.”
Clear later told jurors she watched for traffic while Englert and Williams beat Gibson to death, and then buried his body in a shallow grave. She said after that they all drove to the Wabash River to get rid of the evidence.
“I remember driving there,” Englert explained. “I don’t remember exactly if me, or Carol Ann, or Antonio threw them in or what — how he got in there.”
Englert said he doesn’t remember much of the early morning murder. “It seems kind of like a movie, like different scenes,” he said. “Some things I can remember, some things are like a blur.”
However, Englert said there is one thing he knew without a doubt — “I’m not thinking I’m going to get away with this,” he said.
Englert was right. A few days later he was arrested by Lafayette police for a number of charges including murder, conspiracy to commit murder and criminal confinement.
“My mind was thinking a lot of things, it was just flipping everywhere,” Englert told WLFI. “What’s my life going to be? Is this serious, is this real?”
WLFI asked Englert about his children and how that makes him feel knowing their dad was charged with murder. Englert replied, “It made me feel like sh*t.”
Englert’s jury trial began more than a year after the crime on Nov. 14, 2012. Tippecanoe County Prosectuor Pat Harrington declined to recount the trial from the prosecution’s standpoint. But WLFI obtained the transcripts from the murder trial, about 500 pages of testimony including some from Gibson’s family members.
It was that portion of the trial Englert said was the hardest to hear. “It was very emotional. You know, I felt for them — all the way,” he said.
Englert ended up pleading guilty to murder. The jury also found him guilty of six other charges, including criminal confinement and conspiracy to commit murder. He was sentenced to 80 years in prison.
It’s been a year and a half since his sentencing. Englert said in that time, he’s done a lot of thinking.
“I feel like it’s a good thing I came here. But not for why I’m here, it changed me, you know,” Englert said. “I’m a lot better person than I was. I wasn’t growing up, my life was going by too fast. Now that I’m in here, it slows you down. It makes you think about everything.”
Englert said he’s now working to better his life by working seven days a week in the prison cafeteria. He’s also working on becoming a part of the Plus Program — a faith-based group that focuses on character development.
But the one thing he knows, he can’t change what happened in the early hours of that July morning.
“I’m sorry for everything. I’m very remorseful,” Englert explained. “I mean, there’s nothing I can say to help them, you know? Just let them know that I’m remorseful, and I’m sorry. That’s the only thing I could do, apologize and give them my remorse.”
When WLFI asked it Englert thought that would be enough. He replied, “No, nothing would be enough.”
Englert’s earliest release date is currently set for 2052. While it’s another 30 years away, Englert said it’s something he thinks about on a daily basis.
“I hope to get out one day and be able to live a life with a family. A normal life,” Englert said.
WLFI asked, “Do you think it’s unfair for you to live a normal life when Jeremy didn’t get the chance to?” Englert said, “Yea, I would say that’s unfair.”
Clear was sentenced to 44 years in prison for her role in Gibson’s death. She admitted in court she helped murder Gibson. Williams was also charged with murder. He died in jail after overdosing on methadone in January of 2012.